After two years of calling Whanganui's Nazareth Rest Home her humble abode, a 90-year-old resident may be forced to move nearly 700km away.

On Thursday, news broke that the long-standing rest home, located on Hillside Terrace, is closing - leaving 41 residents and 61 staff "absolutely gutted".

What will they do and where will they go?

The resident's daughter (who does not want to be named) said the news came as a great shock.


"When my mother moved there she thought it would be her home forever. Now she's 90 and unsure where she'll live.

"She told me everyone up there was absolutely gutted, I hope she's not losing too much sleep over it."

The daughter said her mother had mentioned moving back to Kerikeri, where she lived before Nazareth, because finding another bed in Whanganui was going to be tough.

"My friend, whose mother also lived at Nazareth, told me to get on the phone straight away because there were very few beds available."

Nazareth acting chief executive Tineke Stokes said she had told the residents and their families that the transition to new accommodation would be made as smooth as possible.

"Residents and their families have been assured that they have a home at Nazareth until a new home is found for them."

The residents are left with seven rest homes in Whanganui to choose from, some with "subsidy rooms" available but none with "premium rooms".

Summerset Rest Home care centre manager Libin Varghese said he had already been contacted by three families from Nazareth.

"We have the capacity to take eight new residents, and those beds are in subsidy rooms which basically means without an ensuite."

Mr Varghese said it would be an easy transition for the residents to move to Summerset but beds were limited.

"Our numbers do fluctuate a lot...some of our residents have been here nine years others only two weeks because they have died suddenly."

New Vista Rest Home quality manager Inez Allen said New Vista was "fully booked".

"Unfortunately we have no beds available at the moment, we've got a waiting list.

"Nazareth residents and their families have contacted us but all our 58 beds are occupied."

But the Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) has confirmed beds were available at other aged care facilities.

WDHB Service and Business Planning general manager Tracey Schiebli said the WDHB was working closely with Nazareth and service coordination agency, Access Ability, to help ensure the process of finding residents a new home is as smooth as possible.

"We understand Nazareth's residents and their families will be feeling anxious, and that the closure will be unsettling for our community in general, but we want to provide assurance that our district has sufficient beds available,"she said.

Ms Schiebli said rest home bed capacity in the Whanganui district was good.

"So for Nazareth's 41 residents this means there's space in other Whanganui aged care facilities that caters to the level of care they need."

But for the 61 Nazareth staff, finding new work could be difficult.

Mr Varghese said he had been approached by Nazareth staff but because he had already taken on about six staff in the last month employing more staff would be difficult.

"We will do what we can but unfortunately at the moment we can't do much....I don't think there's much out there for them which is tricky."

Ms Stokes said the reason for closure was because the building needed a revamp and it was not sustainable to continue to use the current buildings for rest home and hospital services.

"While the buildings met current standards it would not be viable to continue future investment to remain compliant with legislation."